Letters to the Editor

School district responds to online comments | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

                                       - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

To the editor:

In response to Rod Stevens comments posted on Sept. 24, 2013 under the story, "Settlement offer in lawsuit falls through: Bronkowski, Ward and Lester refuse to turn over computers for inspection."

On behalf of the school district, I want to set the record straight.  Rod Stevens filed a public records request at the end of August for all correspondence between two citizens serving on our School Configuration Committee (SCC) and other committee members, district staff or school board members.  One of those two citizens was Bob Fortner.

Mr. Stevens later amended the request to include correspondence from one additional citizen serving on the SCC.

In response to this request, all three citizens submitted their personal email messages to the district. The district also collated all relevant committee emails and documents.

On Sept. 12, a letter was sent to Mr. Stevens, listing 117 email messages and 14 letters that were available for his review.  Only three of those documents were exempted pursuant to state law.

A second letter was sent to Mr. Stevens on Sept. 24, listing additional available documents.

To date, Mr. Stevens has yet to review any of the available records.

The district has also notified Mr. Stevens that additional documents are undergoing further review. We have never previously received requests for release of email messages from citizens serving on district committees. We have therefore requested legal review of several documents to ensure compliance with state statutes related to public records. When that legal review is completed, Mr. Stevens will be notified of the status of those additional records.

The Bainbridge Island School District has been blessed to have citizens such as Mr. Fortner serving on its committees. He has devoted countless hours to our School Configuration Committee deliberations. We greatly value his service to our district and community and appreciate his assistance and support in complying so thoroughly with this time-consuming public records request.

FAITH CHAPEL

Superintendent

Bainbridge Island School District

 

Rod Stevens comments:

“It is very interesting. Bob Fortner was a pivotal member of the finance subcommittee of the Bainbridge Island School District reconfiguration committee. I put in a public records request to review the email correspondence between Bob Fortner and other members of this committee. The school district disclosed that such records exist but will not disclose their contents, citing the “deliberative process.” Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.”

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